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The 10 Best Salad Chains In America

For a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food, check out one of these popular salad spots.
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When you're out running errands, meeting friends for lunch, or just not in the mood to cook dinner, hitting up a salad chain is a healthy alternative to fast food. Gone are the days when a sad side salad was the only green offering to be found at a chain restaurant. Nowadays, the bar is pretty high when it comes to salads that are delicious, nutritious, and extremely colorful.

You can definitely eat the rainbow at many of the popular restaurants on this list, and some of the salads are so craveable that they become habit forming!

While salad chains aren't as cheap as fast-food burger joints, they do offer an opportunity to stay on track with your healthy eating even when you're on the go. And with so many different ingredients on offer, the salads you'll find are highly customizable—so, no matter your taste, there's something for everyone.

Whether you like ordering up the signature salads at some of these chains, or you're more of a create-your-own kind of eater, there's no denying that these places make getting your daily veggies a whole lot easier.


Kale Caesar salad at Chopt
Chopt / Facebook

Featuring high-quality, local ingredients and over 18 different dressings, it's no wonder that Chopt has become a go-to for salad lovers everywhere. The menu has exciting additions, according to the season. Right now, you can try the Mexican-inspired winter menu, featuring Yellowbird Hot Sauce, the chain's newest partner.

Chopt is on a mission to make healthy eating exciting and it features flavors from around the world to ensure that your meal is never boring. Started in 2001 in New York City, the chain strives to develop relationships with local farmers to ensure it keeps things local. Chopt is now in 11 markets and continues to grow. Its clean, bright, and modern dining rooms make this a place you'd actually meet a colleague or friend for lunch. The mobile ordering is super convenient, too.

Recently, the menu has expanded to include warm bowls, beginning with Chicken Tinga, but fans will always go for the Mexican Caesar, a spicy twist on the classic salad, or the Kale Caesar with Grilled Chicken, another all-time fave.

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Just Salad

Just Salad
Photo: Just Salad / Facebook

This salad chain says it's on a mission to make everyday health and everyday sustainability a possibility. Those are lofty goals but if nothing else, at least it makes some delicious salads! Just Salad's ingredients are prepped in-house daily and team members are super friendly, often making great suggestions for building the perfect salad.

The chain is known for taking comfort food favorites such as chicken and waffles and turning them into healthy, delicious salads like the Maple Crispy Chicken. Just Salad switches up its menu depending on the season, and regulars know to make sure to grab their favorites before they're gone.

The chain was started by childhood friends in NYC in 2006 and has since expanded to 70 locations worldwide. While the ambiance is a little more sterile than some chains, it's clean and bright and definitely a place health-conscious diners want to visit often. And despite the name, the chain does offer other stuff besides salad, including warm bowls, wraps, avocado toast, plant-based smoothies, and bottled dressings.


sweetgreen bowls
sweetgreen / Facebook

Sweetgreen opened its first store in 2007 in Washington, D.C., and there are now over 220 locations nationwide. This salad chain, started by a trio of Georgetown University students who didn't like the on-campus dining options, has achieved a cult-like following from fans who love the super-fresh leafy green ingredients, the convenience of in-store ordering and mobile ordering with real time notifications, and the Sweetpass loyalty program.

When it comes to the food, the Guacamole Greens salad is legendary. With roasted chicken, avocado, tomatoes, red onions, shredded cabbage, tortilla chips, spring mix, chopped romaine, and a lime squeeze, all topped with lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette, it's definitely a great lunch option.

Sweetgreen is also known for its collaborations with local chefs in the cities where its operates. Celebrity chef David Chang of Momofuku fame has lent his expertise to the menu on multiple occasions.

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grabbagreen greek bowl

Grabbagreen was founded in 2013 by two moms who wanted to see more healthy options for parents and other folks who want to eat nutritious food on the go. Its "Eat Clean" menu consists of fresh ingredients and whole foods. Menu items are based around super foods, so you know you're getting your vitamins when you chow down here.

With locations in California, Nevada, and Texas, the restaurant's vibe is just as you'd expect: clean and green. The concept here is a quick-service restaurant where you can get healthy, great-tasting food at the speed of fast food. The chain's green and grain-based bowls can also be made into wraps. Also, in addition to salads, the restaurant offers smoothies, fresh-pressed juices, açaí bowls, as well as breakfast and healthy kid-friendly items like the Turkey Roll and Banana Berry Smoothie.

Grabbagreen's Instagram looks like the healthy meal prep you wish you had time to make. Choose mixed greens or baby kale as your salad base, then go for a signature salad, such as the Fiesta, featuring chimichurri sauce, black beans, red onion, red pepper, roasted mushrooms, avocado, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Add a protein (there's even a plant-based one) and a spicy chili rub for no extra charge. Or, simply create your own salad with up to six ingredients included.


saladworks salad
Photo: Ronnie Koenig, Eat This, Not That!

With 110 locations in 15 states and more in development internationally, Saladworks is earning a reputation for delivering good on the greens. The chain boasts over 60 ingredients to choose from, so if variety is your spice of life, this will definitely be a favorite. Customers can add up to five ingredients (or, add on even more for a charge) and top with a dressing or get it on the side. Every fresh ingredient can be made into a salad, warm grain bowl, or a wrap, just in case you ever need a break from the salad life. Sophie's Salad is a favorite among fans who love the combo of bleu cheese, dried cranberries, and honey roasted pecans, and the Farmer's Market Salad won't leave you hungry. It includes roasted turkey, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, feta, red grapes, and more.

Stepping inside a Saladworks, you'll find a cozy, homey atmosphere. while not as sleek as Chopt or Sweetgreen, it's still a comfortable place to throw back some greens solo or with friends.

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Crisp & Green

Crisp and Green

Founded in 2016 by fitness guru Steele Smiley, this fast-casual chain is looking to change the game in the wellness industry with chef-crafted menu items, including grain bowls, smoothies, and of course, salads. Its first store opened in Wayzata, Minn., and it's since expanded into Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Florida, Iowa, Arizona, and Nebraska. And, just last year, it opened a store in New York City. Fans love the Cobb Salad, the Wild Wild Southwest Salad, and the Get Your Greek On, as well as warm ingredients like chicken and roasted squash. The portions are big and customers say the prep area is pristine.


mixt beetnik salad

With locations in California, Arizona, and Texas, Mixt is making a name for itself with salads like the Beetnik, featuring mixed greens, arugula, roasted golden beets, avocado, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, shaved fennel, savory herbs, and balsamic vinaigrette. Or, try the Bachelor, made with mixed greens, arugula, grilled flat iron steak, blue cheese, herb roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, savory herbs, balsamic vinaigrette, caramelized onions, and breadcrumbs.

Mixt is a proud B Corporation, charged with a mission to bring better eating to everyone with "salads that rock." While this chain may be new to you, it's been in business for 17 years and has 18 locations. The restaurants are bright, cheerful, and definitely a place to spend a long lunch with a friend or coworker.

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Tender Greens

Tender Greens
Tender Greens/X

This California salad chain was started by two chefs and a foodie friend, and its Instagram is so beautiful, you'll be craving a salad after viewing just one or two posts. Each location has its own executive chef and one favorite salad is the Italian Chop, featuring salami, mortadella, provolone, cherry tomatoes, basil, pepperoncini, red gem lettuce, radicchio, and roasted tomato vinaigrette. Or, when you want something more substantial than "girl dinner," there's the Harvest Chicken with roasted delicata squash, bosc pears, grapes, pepitas, goat cheese, caramelized onions, baby lettuces, and golden balsamic vinaigrette.

The vibe here is "fine casual." While you do order at the counter, the restaurant itself has more of a sit-down feel. Insider tip: the chocolate chip cookies are unbelievable. Go ahead and order one—it's okay since you're getting a salad!)


freshii berrii crunchii

This Toronto-based fast-casual restaurant has over 100 locations globally, including Canada, the United States, Colombia, Peru, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, and United Arab Emirates, with franchises under development in Germany, Guatemala, and Saudi Arabia.

You can make a custom salad or go for the Berrii Crunchii, with field greens, quinoa, dried cranberries, feta cheese, strawberries, walnuts, green apple, green onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. Or, you can't go wrong with the Kale Caesar Salad, featuring kale, quinoa, crispy chickpeas, hemp seeds, parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing. Its locations are clean, green, and inviting—it's a great place to share a salad and maybe even try one of the soups.

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Salad House

Salad House
Salad House/Facebook

This New Jersey-born salad chain serves up big salad bowls in a clean, friendly atmosphere. With over a dozen locations in the Garden State and an eye toward franchising across the Northeast, Salad House offers several signature salads, like the Backyard BBQ, featuring romaine, black beans, corn, crispy onions, cheddar cheese, and BBQ grilled chicken (suggested dressing is ranch). There's also the Open Sesame, made with romaine, grilled chicken, carrots, edamame, almonds, cabbage, and wonton strips (suggested dressing is Asian Sesame Ginger).

The restaurants are full of big lettering and neon, feeling like a next-level version of a college dining hall. The fun and busy Salad House locations seem to have a big male following, proving that great salads aren't just for the girls.

Ronnie Koenig
Ronnie Koenig has written about food, drink, travel and culture for The New York Times, TODAY, The Atlantic and many others. Read more about Ronnie